Monthly Archives: March 2016

And Now For Something Completely Different

Do you ever get a bug under your skin, and suddenly, you can’t imagine anything you want to do less than work on the projects you’ve already got on your needles?

It’s not just me, right? (Please tell me it’s not just me!)

Well, this weekend, the last thing I wanted to do was anything to do with knitting.  And I certainly didn’t want to steam block my husband’s sweater.  (I’m definitely not procrastinating or anything… Ha!)

I got it into my head that I wanted to do something utterly useless, and totally pretty and silly.  So, I thought about the supplies I had on hand, and it came to me:  a doily.

I have never made a doily.  Because I’m not an 80-year-old grandma.  (Not that there’s anything wrong with that.)  But I poked around on Ravelry, and found this beautiful pattern, published in 1969, that was (amazingly) available online:

Brocade #A-792 by Coats & Clark4263729381_b3c5f43ded_z[1]I pulled out a size 10 steel crochet hook (it’s super tiny!) that used to belong to my great-grandmother, and a big spool of crochet cotton that I inherited from a friend of a friend.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAAnd I went to work!  Three days and a small callus later, My doily is finished!OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAIt’s huge (about 15″ across)!  I ran out of thread, so I  couldn’t finish the last three or four rows of the pattern, but I am still pleased with how it turned out.  I even got to learn how to use starch, which was a kind of fun old-fashioned skill to gain. (And I’m all about old-fashioned skills.)

Now the question is what to do with the finished doily.  I’m not really a “doily” kind of person, and my house isn’t really a “doily” kind of house.  Right now, it’s hanging out on a little end table in my knitting studio, but I’m open to other suggestions!

What projects have you done while avoiding stuff you “should” be doing?

AND! Don’t forget to sign up for the Aura Giveaway!

A(nother) Sweater

Apparently I’m on a sweater kick.  I mean, I always appreciate a good sweater.  But, I feel like I’ve got a bit of a bug under my skin lately about knitting sweaters.  (Or maybe it’s just that I’ve started looking at Pinterest more- so many pretty projects, so little time.)

I’m thinking that my next sweater should be for me.  And I think it should be more modern and girlier than my usual fare of plain-ol, top down pullovers.

And I think it should use this lovely lilac yarn I’ve had stashed away for almost a year.  (KnitPicks’ Wool of the Andes Superwash in Haze Heather)26320My first instinct is to go simple and easy to really show off the color.  Add in an interesting, modern silhouette, and I’m in love!

Worsted Boxy by Joji LocatelliResize_of_a04_medium2[1]But, oof, that’s a lot of stockinette… like, a lot…

Maybe I want to keep it simple, but do a more classic, relaxed silhouette.  And maybe add a little textural interest, just enough to make it fun.

Mailin by Isabell KraemerIMG_6038_medium2[1]But, then we’re back in kind-of-old-fashioned-and-not-terribly-flattering country.  (Although I do really like this pattern.  I’ll have to keep it in mind for a later date.)

Maybe I need something a little fiddlier- something with a ton of teeny tiny cables?

Little Wave by Gudrun JohnstonLittle_Wave_1_medium2[1]Maybe… but it’s not as much of a “wow” project as I was looking for…

Oooh, look at this one!  An interesting, modern shape, a perfect canvas for super-cool cables, and I think it would look pretty killer in purple!

Stranger Cardigan by michiyoStranger1_medium2[1]I think we might have a winner!

What do you think?  Which would you pick?

Pattern: Magnolia Sweater

What’s that?  A new pattern?  In a new KnitPicks collection?  Ooh boy!

This collection is just in time for spring! And it might be my most favorite collection ever!  It’s dreamy, light, and feminine but somehow not too”girly.”  The sky outside my studio window is blue and I can see tulips blooming in my yard.  It’s all too perfect.

These 16 gorgeous garments is collected in KnitPick’s newest book, Aura!

75230DI’m loving the openwork cardigan, Solana, from the cover.

75230D113And I’ve never been tempted to make a knitted t-shirt, but this Rippling Top is to die for.75230D128And I am just in love with this light-as-a-feather Muse Top.  Sigh.75230D119Oh!  I almost forgot to show you the pattern that I made, I’m so enchanted by the other patterns!

It’s the Magnolia Pullover!75230D101It’s a slightly over-sized sweater, meant to be loose at the bust and upper arms, but well-fitted at the waist and cuffs.  Knit in super-soft Stroll Sock and Stroll Glimmer (The back is glittery!  I know! Exciting!), this sweater is super comfy, but light enough for sunny spring days.  (I made mine in black, and it looks super cute with a bright colored shirt underneath.  Just sayin’.)

75230D102Do you want this collection?  (Yes, you do.)  Comment below with your favorite Aura pattern, or your favorite springtime activity for a chance to win a copy!  I’ll be holding the drawing next week!

Husband Sweater- Buttons!

I love buttons, yes I do.  I love buttons, yow ’bout you?

I especially love shopping for buttons at all the cool, funky little yarn shops, fabric stores and craft shops in Seattle.  (OK, not all the shops, but we probably visited 3 or 4.)

Last weekend, my husband and I went on the Quest for the Perfect Button!  It was actually quite fun.  We started out with breakfast at our favorite brunch spot (If you’re in Seattle, be sure to visit The Dish, and get the SOB Spuds with eggs.  So good!), because everyone knows that shopping for buttons should not be done on an empty stomach.

Then we wound our way back toward our house and stopping here and to look for buttons.  I still maintained that pewter buttons would look good, but as you guys reminded me after my last sweater post, this is my husband’s sweater, and he’s the one who is going to wear it, so we ended up finding some pretty cool wooden buttons.

Ta da!

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAI’m actually pretty pleased with them.  They’re a lovely warm brown, and they’re stained in a way that makes them look vintage-y, but the cup-like shape is pretty modern-looking.  I think my husband did a good job picking out his buttons.  (I knew I kept him around for some reason.)

He’s actually been wearing the sweater around the house and out and about on weekends, but it still is a little short (which makes me cringe).  I was hoping that it would sag a bit, like the last sweater I made for him, but it looks like that isn’t going to happen.  I guess I’m going to have to try steam blocking it…

This scares me.  I’m fairly certain that I’ll end up melting the yarn. (I don’t know why I’m certain about this- must just be some manifestation of my general anxiety.)  So!  If you have suggestions, tips or tricks, please let me know!  I would love any advice you have for not completely messing up this sweater!


Yesterday was the equinox, so happy official spring everybody!

Here in Seattle, the trees and flowers have decided to blossom with a vengeance!  I swear, when I even look outside my nose starts running, and I begin to sneeze uncontrollably.  Not ideal, sure, but does that stop me from picking flowers and bringing them inside?  Ha! Histamines be damned!  I’m going to enjoy spring!

But, maybe I should just stick to only non-allergy-producing flowers.  Maybe I could work up some adorable knit floral patterns like these:

It’s not quite warm here- a damp chill in the 40s and 50s, so a lovely blanket like this, strewn with gorgeous flower motifs would be just the ticket!

Frida’s Flowers Blanket by Jane Crowfoot

12794767_10209072076018969_2032870089130453054_o_medium2[1]If I had a little girl, I would totally make her this darling cardigan.  (I wonder if my dog would be willing to put up with a sweater like this… hmm.)

Flower Cardigan by Ewelina Murachback_1_medium2[1]And, I have to admit that my teapot is shockingly naked at the moment.  Maybe I should work up this warm-looking tea cozy strewn with adorable little violets and leaves.

Floral Knitted Tea Cosy by Madame Weigel2093437863_88361d4cf1_z[1]I suppose I should just admit to myself that I’ll be stuck in the house, hiding from pollen until July.  I guess I just need to curl up under a nice, warm blanket like this one and watch a lot of Netflix, until spring is done and summer is in full swing.  (I suppose there are worse things to do.)

Floral Baby Blanket by Adi Kerenpic_medium2[1]

What’s the flower situation like in your neck of the woods?  Have your daffodils come up yet, or your cherry trees blossomed?

What do you want to see?

Hi knitters!  It’s been a while since I’ve checked in with you, so I think it’s about time!5717416916_2d555e0368_z[1]I want to know what you guys are into!  What are you interested in?  What do you want to see?

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERADo you want tutorials?  Knitalongs? Pattern and yarn reviews?  Do you want more ramblings about how bad I am at technology?  (Too bad- you’re getting those regardless!)OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERADo you want recommendations for media to entertain you while knitting?  Do you want to see more of the projects on my needles?  Do you want to share your projects?

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThe sky’s the limit!  Just let me know what you’re interested in, and I’m happy to provide!


This Sunday we were attacked by the biggest wind storm I’ve seen since I moved here 5 years ago- maybe ever (which is saying something, coming from Illinois, where gales of wind rip across the state, since there’s nothing taller than a stalk of corn to stop them).  Trees were torn up, power lines were downed, they even had to close the 520 bridge because the waves on Lake Washington were so big, they were splashing up onto the bridge and causing dangerous conditions.

Our neighborhood lost power at about 2:00 in the afternoon.  And we didn’t get it back until the middle of the night- almost 12 hours later.

We didn’t feel safe driving anywhere, since the roads were littered with debris, and we didn’t want to leave the house, in case something went wrong (our house is surrounded by very big, very old trees- charming in sunny weather, scary in a wind storm).  So, we stayed in and watched the neighbor’s 3-story-tall pine trees whip back and forth like blades of grass.  It was kind of terrifying, but also really cool.

So, what did we do for 12 hours of powerlessness?

We played cards, listened to the music on our phones (until the batteries got too low), read books, and (of course) knit.

I continued working on a sweater design that I had already started (you’ll see it soon, but not today).  But, if I’d had time to plan my blackout knitting, I probably would have picked out patterns like these:

I would start with something super fiddly and technical.  After all, with no TV to distract me, I could really throw myself into a pattern like this gorgeous (and futzy) Fair Isle hat.

Electric Snow Fair Isle Hat by Don Godec4127721009_cc9c8f6a81_z[1]Then, when the sun started to go down, I would switch over to a pattern that used super bulky yarn.  With lowered visibility, big yarn is a must, and this hat’s simple design would be perfect for knitting in the dark.  Have you ever tried to knit by candlelight?  It’s not easy.  Trust me.

The Vermonter by Abi Gregoriovermonter2_medium2[1]

And, of course, no power means no heat (at least in my house).  So I would need as many blankets as possible!  This garter-stitch one would be perfect- squishy and warm!

Buncha Squares Blanket by Kay Gardiner and Ann Shayne2188346768_0ffdfd92b9_z[1]

Luckily our power’s back on now and we’re all back to normal (though it still feels luxurious every time I can open the fridge without worrying about the food spoiling).  But next time, I’ll be prepared!

Have you ever had a blackout in your neighborhood?  What did you do to keep yourself busy?

Husband’s Sweater Update

I’ve finished my husband’s sweater!  Woo!

(Sort of.)

It’s got a collar and a body, and two arms that end in nicely finished cuffs.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAI really am quite pleased with how this sweater has turned out.  I like the moss stitch yoke, and it actually fits my husband pretty well.  Not bad for a quick, semi-improvised sweater project!

Now I’ve just got to actually finish it:

  1.  It need buttons.  I’m thinking pewter, but my husband is campaigning for wood.  What do you think?
  2. I think it’s still a half-inch too short.  (Even after ripping it back and re-knitting the waist.  I think it might have some sort of curse.) I’m going to try steam-blocking it, in the hopes that I can avoid re-knitting the hem for a third time.  Wish me luck!

Not bad, if I say so myself.

So, what are you working on?

Mother Bear Project- and update

If you remember, I spent my holiday season knitting up a bunch of teddy bears for the Mother Bear Project (an amazing organization that sends hand-made teddy bears to children in emerging nations whose lives have been affected by HIV/AIDS).

I ended up with seven bears, made from super soft leftover yarn, that I sent of to Mother Bear Headquarters in Minnesota.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThen, a few weeks after the holidays, I received a beautiful hand-written thank-you note from the Mother Bear herself.  OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAAnd, included in the note was a stack of little tags to be tied onto more bears.

And you know I can’t say no to a challenge (especially when it’s for such a good cause).

So, in-between design work, sweater knitting, and breaking my keyboard, I’ve made a little time to start up my bear-making machine again.  They’re perfect “in-between projects.”  Small and simple enough to be a pretty quick knit, but interesting enough (with all their color changes), to hold your attention.

I’ve collected all the little half-skeins of yarn of the same type (in this case, I’ve found a bunch of KnitPick’s Wool of the Andes Worsted, leftover from a few sweater projects), and put it in a bag with the right size needles and the pattern.  That way, everything I need will be ready for me whenever I feel the urge to get a little bear-y.

I’ve already made one-and-a-half more bears!  OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAI wonder how many bears I’ll be able to knit like this before the end of the year.

Is anyone else still working on Mother Bears? (If not, you should!  You can get a copy of the pattern here!)

Inspiration: All at Sea

So! My soda saga keeps going.  I sat down to start prising off the keys from my keyboard (to get the dried soda out from underneath them.  (A task I’ve done on many other laptop keyboards without problems, I might add.  (And don’t give me that look.  Like you’ve never spilled anything on a keyboard.))

And do you know what was the first thing I did?  I broke one of my keys.  I bet you will be able to figure it out- it’s a letter that I haven’t typed in this entire post (other than the pattern names), and it’s a letter that is useful when talking about knitwear.

Hint 1: It’s the first letter of this lovely knit garment- a loose and lovely sweater split down the front (it’s not a pullover, it’s a ________).

caramel by Isabell KraemerP1060509_medium2[1]Hint 2:  This final outerwear layer isn’t a sweater, it’s a big, bulky __________.

Big Old Coat by Joji Locatelli5H2A9740_medium2[1]Hint 3:  And this bright and happy tube of knitting isn’t a shawl or a wrap, it’s a ________.

3 Color Cashmere Cowl by Joji Locatelli003_medium2[1]Did you figure out what letter is missing from my keyboard?  It’s the one that follows B in the alphabet.  It also turns out to be a very useful letter when talking about shades and hues of yarn (_olors) and various knitted garments (_ardigans, _oats, and _owls).  Sigh.

Unfortunately, without this letter, if I work up any of these patterns I won’t be able to write about them on my blog!  Oh no!

(Or, I suppose I might go visit the laptop store and see if they are able to fix my keyboard…  But that would make a lot of sense.  Ugh!)


(OK, real talk time.  I’m being a little dramatic. I actually can use the ‘c’ key, but only about half the time. But it is frustrating, because I know exactly what happened (I broke off a tiny little piece of plastic).  And, once I make it to the computer store, I bet they’ll be able to fix it.  Keep your fingers crossed!)